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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Gold from waste - new twist to 'data' mining

The implications of e-waste are becoming clear day by day. For the record e-waste has 17 times more gold that gold bearing ore and 40 times more copper. Given the prices of metals it looks like mining refineries may soon switch to extracting the metals from waste rather than mining it. China seems to have a lead in this (basically no environmental) with pesants doing this for peanuts. India has a strong recycling industry (informal) and safe e-waste treatment may be the way to go. There are however caveats as the environmental costs are high. This needs to be addressed urgently. In fact e-waste should be recycled in areas where hazardous industries are already using similar processes for different purposes so that the effluent treatment can be centralized and the investments amortized faster.

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